HomeHome Page FeaturedWrapping Campaign '23, starting big 2024 races

Wrapping Campaign ’23, starting big 2024 races

From left: Campaign manager Aizaz Gill, office aide Bobby Yerkov, Brian and Joy O’Neill and office aide Alice Udovich.
From left: Elections commissioner Lisa Deeley, Sprinkler Fitters Local 692 business manager Wayne Miller, Christy Brady, Colleen McIntyre Osborne and Local 692 political director Dave Clavin.

Attention politically turns to 2024, with legislative, congressional, statewide row office and presidential races on the horizon.

As for the recently completed campaign season, voters last week decided on a series of citywide races and statewide judicial contests, with the most-watched local race coming in the 10th Councilmanic District.

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Councilman Brian O’Neill, a Republican, won a surprisingly easy victory over Democrat Gary Masino, taking 61 percent of the vote. He won all four wards, including the largely Democratic Rhawnhurst-based 56th Ward.

Masino, head of Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, enjoyed big fundraising and voter-registration advantages. He was gracious in addressing supporters – who included state Rep. Ed Neilson, state Sen. Jim Dillon, elections commissioner Lisa Deeley and ward leader Brian Eddis – at Plumbers Local 690, congratulating O’Neill and thanking his wife Karen and children, unions and volunteers. Masino said he met a lot of good people on the campaign trail and that it was overall a good experience, adding that he will remain involved to improve the Northeast.

O’Neill, first elected in 1979, celebrated at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5.

“This is beyond my wildest expectations,” O’Neill said about the 22 percentage-point victory, including prevailing in the 56th Ward.

The councilman said he was worried about Masino’s money, but that acted as a motivator to knock on a lot of doors. He credited his volunteers with being fervent and passionate.

The incumbent had endorsements from the police and firefighters/paramedics unions, Sprinklerfitters Local 692, Gas Workers Local 686 and even the Inquirer, which doesn’t back Republicans too often.

O’Neill credited his staff – he has five offices – with doing a good job.

“My staff deserves a whole lot of credit,” he said.

O’Neill believes voters remembered his office’s work on zoning, renovating playgrounds and handling constituent requests and complaints.

“It all came together tonight,” he said.

The ballot was topped by the Supreme Court race between Democrat Daniel McCaffery, a Torresdale resident and Superior Court judge, and Republican Carolyn Carluccio, president judge of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

McCaffery – with financial backing from unions, trial lawyers, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Working Families Party – won the race with 53 percent of the vote.

“As the son of Irish immigrants who fled their home to escape sectarian violence and to make a better life for their children, tonight is truly remarkable. My parents’ experience led me to a life of service in the military, as a prosecutor, as a judge and now as a Justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” he said in a statement.

“I’m humbled by the responsibility Pennsylvanians have entrusted in me and I intend to serve our commonwealth and every community across Pennsylvania by defending our Constitution and ensuring our society is more fair, inclusive and accepting. Thank you.”

Two seats were open on Superior Court. Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane defeated Republicans Maria Battista and Harry Smail.

The Commonwealth Court between Democrat Matt Wolf and Republican Megan Martin was won by Wolf with 52 percent of the vote.

Philadelphians elected 13 judges of Common Pleas Court, with all 13 Democratic candidates unopposed.

There were two openings on Municipal Court, and the winners were Democrats Barbara Thomson and Colleen McIntyre Osborne, with Republican Rania Major third. Major won three wards.

In the race for mayor, Democrat Cherelle Parker prevailed with 75 percent of the vote, beating Republican David Oh to become the city’s first woman mayor. Oh managed wins in seven Northeast wards, in the Bridesburg-based 45th Ward and South Philadelphia’s 26th Ward.

There were three candidates for as many seats on the city elections commission, guaranteeing that the three incumbents – Democrats Lisa Deeley and Omar Sabir and Republican Seth Bluestein – will be returning to office.

In the race for city controller, Democrat Christy Brady, of Fox Chase, topped Republican Aaron Bashir with 81 percent of the vote to fill the remainder of the term of Rebecca Rhynhart, who resigned to run for mayor. Brady will be back on the ballot in 2025. Bashir won four wards.

Democrat John Sabatina, of Rhawnhurst, took 82 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Linwood Holland in the race for register of wills. Sabatina ousted incumbent Tracey Gordon in the primary.

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal, a Democrat, defeated Republican Mark LaVelle with 74 percent of the vote. LaVelle won the same nine wards as Oh.

The City Council at-large race featured nine candidates, with voters able to choose five. The top seven finishers were elected. Democrats Isaiah Thomas, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Nina Ahmad, Rue Landau and Jim Harrity won easily. The Working Families Party’s Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke outpolled Republicans Jim Hasher and Drew Murray for the other two seats. Hasher and Murray did well in the Northeast and Bridesburg but could not overcome the strength Brooks and O’Rourke had in liberal and black wards.

Councilmen Mike Driscoll and Anthony Phillips and Councilwoman Quetcy Lozada were unopposed.

Meanwhile, all Superior Court, Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court judges up for retention were victorious.

The proposed change to the city Home Rule Charter passed with 86 percent of the vote. It will create an Office for People with Disabilities. ••

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